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ACCESSION# 1992.001.ab
TITLE Pale Salmon and Gray Bustle Ensemble
BRIEF DESCRIPTION Pale salmon and gray silk taffeta bustle ensemble, trimmed with pale salmon taffeta ruffles and white and gray tassel trim, swags, bustle, and train; fitted bodice with 3/4 sleeves, square neckline and triple button closure up front.

After thoroughly looking over of the garment I made a list of the most important areas of damage. I focused on the skirt because it seemed to be in the most need of repair.
1) There were small splits in the skirt waistband at the side-back and center-back. The fabric was disintegrating probably because the waist band holds so much weight.

2) The buttonhole at the back of the waistband had a split extending through it and much of the reinforcing around the buttonhole had has fallen apart. The button was also missing.

3) The fabric at the back of the skirt was splitting just below the waistband.

4) Several buttons on the bodice were loose, 3 were missing, and the crocheting on one button was coming loose.

5) There was significant staining on the underarms of the bodice and slight fabric disintegration.

6) The pink pleated trim in the back-right neck trim of the bodice was fraying.

7) The boning was protruding from one section at the base of the bodice at the left-front

I decided that the most important region to stabilize on the garment was the waistband because in order to mount the garment (the ultimate goal of our workshop) the waistband needed to be strengthened. I also wanted to fix any issues with the buttons on the bodice because they’re necessary for proper mounting. I proposed the following for treatment:

-Release waistband back and sides from skirt, stabilize waistband with conservation net stitched in place with hair silk, and reattach waistband.
-Stabilize slits below waistband conservation net and stitch with hair silk.
-Restitch loose buttons on bodice, possibly move buttons from less visible locations to front panel, repair button with loosened crocheting
-Once repairs are made, skirt and bodice will be mounted on dress form to determine style and decide if any further repairs are necessary.

I made several changes in the implementation of the plan.
1) I colored the conservation net and hair silk using an acid-free, archival quality green marker. This allowed the net to blend in more easily with the dress, rendering it practically invisible.

2) I doubly reinforced the split int he back of the skirt by stitching the rip closed once the conservation net was sew on.

3) I wrapped certain portions of the skirt’s upper edge in conservation net so that the fabric would not disintegrate when I reattached the waistband.

4) In covering the waistband with conservation net, I wrapped it around all 4 sides of the waistband so that the net completely surrounded it, giving it greater reinforcement.

Though we didn’t have time to reattach the button, we were still able to mount the ensemble and it looked beautiful. It has a waterfall bustle and now that it has been mounted we’ll be able to make some smaller tacking adjustments to make sure it looks great for our exhibition!